Owing to heavy rains and poor condition of roads across the city, commuters have been forced to bear the brunt of a sudden increase in instances of refusal to ply by autorickshaw and taxi drivers. While there were 128 complaints on refusal to ply lodged with the police in June, the number increased to 334 cases in July.
The Mumbai traffic police have decided to intensify their drive against such drivers. “This is a serious problem for women and senior citizens when there are heavy rains,” said , Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) B K Upadhyay.
The police have also decided to report the drivers to the RTO and get their licences revoked if they refuse a fare. “We will post traffic policemen outside all railway stations and main roads to make sure that commuters do not have to take a no from the drivers,”added Upadhyay.
As per data with the traffic police, 4,944 offenders were penalised for the offence of refusing to ply till June. The police also collected a fine of Rs 14,600 from such offenders.
“We had observed that maximum number of complaints from commuters were between 8 am and 11 am and from 5 pm to 8 pm. However, this monsoon, we have observed that the problem has been there the entire day,” said another traffic police officer.
Police said that over the years, complaints for the offence had been soaring, due to which the traffic police had decided to crack the whip on taxi and autorickshaw drivers.
According to traffic police statistics, acting on such complaints, the police had fined and acted against 22,021 drivers for the offense in 2011. However, after a major drive, the number of drivers penalised had decreased to 6,772 drivers in 2012, which increased to 11,037 drivers in 2013.
Refusal to ply is punishable with fines up to Rs 200 and suspension of licence. Once a commuter lodges a complaint, the traffic police notes down the registration number of the vehicle. When the driver arrives at the traffic police headquarter to renew his licence, he is penalised for the offence. Traffic police officers also urge them not to refuse to ply.